Jacqueline edeling

Celtic musical royalty set to grace the INEC stage

AFTER their upcoming UK tour and ahead of their US tour, popular traditional quartet The High Kings will grace the stage at INEC in Killarney on Saturday July 2nd.

The band, consisting of Finbarr Clancy, Darren Holden, Brian Dunphy and new member Paul O’Brien, formed in June 2007 when Finbarr, Darren and Brian and former member Martin Furey were asked to join the band in taking over from groups such as The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners.

“We could sing well, play our instruments well, and harmonize well,” Darren said, somewhat humbly underestimating their many skills as individual performers.

“People were looking for guys with character and presence – not just cardboard cutouts – so the respective musical backgrounds that we all had weren’t just helpful, it was essential,” he added.

Within months, the combination kicked in and it wasn’t long before the band began to capture the public’s imagination, with their 2008 self-titled debut album reaching No. World Music from Billboard magazine.

Graduating from small venues to the biggest venues, the band embarked on an American tour in 2011 to promote their second album “Memory Lane” and it was during the tour that they realized they had found a magic formula that no one had predicted.

“We did not expect this. About three shows into this tour, we realized we had touched not only a heartstring but also a memory. People loved what we did and they would tell us after the shows that what we did and how we did it meant so much to them – they had waited years for a band like us,” Darren said.

“The concerts were getting bigger and bigger and we felt like we were breaking down the barriers,” he added.

In the years since, their popularity has steadily grown, seeing them sell out gigs around the world and release five more studio, live and compilation albums.

Although their sound is firmly rooted in Irish tradition, the band have never been afraid to experiment, as evidenced by their 2016 album ‘Grace and Glory’.

“There’s something for everyone on the album,” Finbarr said.

“Anyone who doubts might find that we are so much more than perceptions would have them believe. Previous High Kings had been stepping stones, but this one saw us above things.

In 2017, the band released “Decade – Best of the High Kings”, a stunning retrospective of their musical journey so far, which was received with rave reviews and sales that saw them once reach the top of the charts. Irish charts and return to the Billboard charts.

During their INEC show, fans can expect to hear many popular songs from the band’s extensive repertoire and, as with all of their live shows, audience participation is a must.

Tickets, priced at €33.50, are available at www.inec.ie.